The puppet strings of Tourette’s

Martha Goulding discusses living with Tourette's and understanding its effects.

I am 23 years old and was diagnosed with Tourette’s at the age of 16. At 16 I was just settling into college and making a few friends then everything changed. From being the quiet geek sitting at the back of the class I was turned into the popular girl with loads of friends all because I started to shout explicit, personal and controversial words and phrases.

I’m a massive Harry Potter and Dad’s army fan and this is reflected in my Tourette’s. I would sit in lectures then screech things like:

  • “Dobby is free”
  • “Harry potter’s got a ###*** big wand”
  • “Stick it up ‘em’ Jonesy”
  • “Don’t panic Mr Mainwaring”

Can you imagine losing all control of your body? Shouting things that you don’t even know the meaning off. Punching yourself till you are bruised and not being able to stop?

Tourette’s is like being a stringed puppet. Someone else is in control of all of your bodily functions. I have a tic that makes me vomit just by moving my tongue or retching uncontrollably for hours on end. Embarrassingly I have tics that cause me to lose control of my bladder.

I wish people were more understanding about Tourette’s. I have had one person ask me if I ever use my Tourette’s to say horrible things to people. I didn’t know how to answer this question without just strongly saying the word no. When I tic it is as much a surprise to me as to what I say as it is to other people. This question really knocked my confidence I felt so ashamed that anybody could think that I use my Tourette’s. I tic enough without doing it on purpose.

Please if you ever meet anyone with Tourette’s just treat them normally. We are still human beings with feelings. It’s just that someone else is pulling the strings.

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